Vice-Governor of Shizuoka Prefecture
You were Director-General for Technology Policy Coordination in the Minister’s Secretariat of MLIT until March 2014, and in May of the same year you became the Vice-Governor of Shizuoka Prefecture. Shizuoka is the location of Nirayama Reverberatory Furnaces, one of the components of the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution. The man who had the furnaces built, Egawa Tan’an, is famous for his major role in Japan’s modernization.
Egawa Tanan (1801–1855) was a great man with considerable foresight. He left his mark in many ways in the final years of the Tokugawa shogunate. He worked to introduce Western gunnery and disseminate its techniques through a school he founded in Nirayama; constructed the Odaiba battery emplacements at the entrance to Edo Bay; advocated the conscription of farmers into the army and the creation of a navy; and oversaw the building of reverberatory furnaces to make iron cannons.
As the Daikan local administrator in charge of the Nirayama region, Egawa became close friends with the likes of Watanabe Kazan and Takano Choei, scholars of Dutch learning and promoters of Western ideas. As he learned about the West, Egawa developed a keen interest in coastal defense. He was later directed by the Tokugawa shogunate to implement his ideas and was given responsibility for bolstering Japan’s coastal defenses.
When the Diana, a frigate of the Imperial Russian Navy arrived in Japan in 1854 for the signing of a friendship treaty between the two countries, it was sunk by a tsunami. A new ship was built under the direction of Russian engineers at Toda Harbor on the west coast of the Izu Peninsula. The Japanese took advantage of this opportunity to learn everything they could about Western shipbuilding. The Japanese shipwrights involved in the undertaking had no experience in building a Western ship, but they were quick learners and the result was the Heda, the first Western-style sailing ship to be built in Japan. The shipwrights who had worked on the project were later sent to a naval training center in Nagasaki where they learned more about building Western-style ships and where they stayed to build naval ships at the Tokugawa shogunate’s direction. As you can see, there was a connection between Egawa’s domain of responsibility and the Nagasaki shipyards.
Every one of the components in the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution has a story about the person or persons involved with that particular component. It is especially meaningful to learn about these people and their achievements and to pass on that knowledge to future generations.
World Heritage inscription isn’t the goal, rather it is the starting line. We need to build a visitors’ center at Nirayama Reverberatory Furnaces and train people to make sure the value of the site is properly conveyed.
As for Miike Port, now that we have set in place a system to conserve and manage the port under the provisions of the Port and Harbor Act, everyone involved with the port must do their best to implement the necessary measures. There are still doubters and those responsible for the port will need to dispel their fears.
The Miike Port people will need to be fully aware of their responsibility and mission and will hopefully carry out their duties with excellence. And, of course, MLIT and other government agencies will need to provide ample support.
Could you give us a final word?
Ms. Koko Kato was the first person in Japan to promote the idea of a serial World Heritage inscription of industrial heritage assets, including some that are still operational. I think the whole idea of combining heritage components throughout the country into one serial nomination with a set theme was a brilliant move.
She is driven by strong convictions and a passion for the project and has been a primary actor at every step of the way, from promoting World Heritage listing to the conservation and interpretation of the sites thereafter.
Ms. Kato has not been deterred by the deep valleys and high mountains along the way. At every point she has worked steadfastly to find the ways and systems to achieve World Heritage inscription, either through her own actions or by finding specialists who will think up ways to achieve these goals.
Her efforts extended not only to initiating technical discussions on conserving and maintaining the heritage sites, but also to showing how government agencies should be involved in the process leading to World Heritage inscription. I don’t think there is anyone else in Japan who could have done all of this. This World Heritage inscription was achieved through enthusiastic local community efforts and Ms. Koko Kato’s initiative, dedication, passion, and ability to move others to action. Ms. Kato was the engine propelling this nomination; I was just one of the engine parts, but I am proud that I was able to contribute. And I am sure there were many others who may not stand out, but who contributed in the same way to achieve this goal. Thank you for spotlighting me among all these people to give me the opportunity to speak of the part I played in this undertaking.
Former Mayor of Omuta City
Archaeologist and Heritage Conservation Specialist
A fellow of the Japan Federation of Engineering Societies
Team Member of the Industrial Project Team Office for the Promotion of World Heritage Listing under Cabinet Secretariat
Governor of Kagoshima Prefecture
Mayor of Hagi City
Mayor of Uki City, Kumamoto Prefecture
The Former Employee of Nippon Steel Corporation
An Associate Professor of the Faculty of Science and Engineering in Iwate University
Chairman of the Tourist Guide Association of Misumi West Port
President of Kuraya Narusawa Co., Ltd.
Chairman of Izunokuni City Tourism Association
Director and General Manager of Gunkanjima Concierge
Producer of the Gunkanjima Digital Museum
Owner at Tōge Chaya
Chairman: Mr. Hidenori Date
President: Mr. Masahiro Date
Proprietor, Houraikan Inn
Representative Director of Egawa Bunko non-profit incorporated foundation
The 42nd head of the Egawa Family
Democratic Party for the People (DPP) Representative for Nagasaki Prefecture
President of the NPO, Way to World Heritage Gunkanjima
MI Consulting Group
President of Watanabe Production Group and Honorary Chair of Watanabe Productions Co., Ltd.
Member of the House of Councillors
World Heritage Consultant
Director and Dean, The Kyushu-Asia Institute of Leadership
Representative Director, SUMIDA, Inc.
Journalist, founder of the Shimomura Mitsuko Ikikata Juku School
Representative, Rally Nippon
Chairman, Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution World Heritage Route Promotion Council Director, National Congress of Industrial Heritage
Representative Director, General Incorporated Foundation National Congress of Industrial Heritage (Advisor, Public Interest Incorporated Foundation Capital Markets Research Institute）
Mayor of Nagasaki City
Policy Director at Heritage Montreal
World Heritage Consultant
Executive Director of Kogakuin University
Heritage Architect and International Consultant
Head of Data Acquisition at The Glasgow School of Art’s School of Simulation and Visualisation
Head of Industrial Heritage, Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh
Scottish Ten Project Manager, Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh
Mayor of Izunokuni City, Shizuoka Prefecture
Pro-Provost and Chairman of Council of the Royal College of Art. Heritage advisor of Canal & River Trust for England and Wales.
Dean of Tokyo Rissho Junior College
Professor emeritus of Keio University
Mayor of Kitakyushu City
At the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee convened in Bonn, Germany, from June 28 to July 8, 2015, the decision was approved to inscribe the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution on the World Heritage list.
At a celebratory party held to mark the occasion, some of the primary promoters of the project spoke of their joy in achieving their goal and of the trials and tribulations to getting there.
Director and Managing Executive Officer, Hanshin Expressway Company Limited
Member, Board of Directors, National Congress of Industrial Heritage
Vice-Governor of Shizuoka Prefecture
Mayor of Hagi City
Chairman, Tokyo Metro Co., Ltd.
Mayor of Omuta City
Deputy Director-General, Lifelong Learning Policy Bureau, MEXT
Former Counsellor, Cabinet Secretariat
Mayor of Kamaishi City
Member, Board of Directors, National Congress of Industrial Heritage Counselor, Shimadzu Limited
Chairman of the Consortium for the World Heritage Inscription of Modern Industrial Heritage (Kyushu-Yamaguchi) and governor of Kagoshima Prefecture (as of 2015)